Deirdre from Doonbeg in West Clare is our featured garden for April
Congratulations Deirdre and thanks for sharing the story of your garden with us - and such lovely pictures! It sounds like you have put a lot of work into your garden and are now reaping the benefits of all that hard work. we hope you enjoy spending your €50 voucher for Fruit Hill Farm!
"I moved to Doonbeg, West Clare, 10 years ago. The L-shaped field was as wild as the wind coming off the Atlantic! First it had to be scraped to remove the scutch grass, dock, rocks and the forgotten and redundant septic tank. A load of topsoil made it look somewhat improved and my daily exercise for a long number of weeks was hauling away large stones. Drainage had to be tackled as well. The drain pipes installed were later supplemented by a 'water feature ', a runoff cut across the garden. This has become the natural boundary between the 'lawn' and the productive area: the orchard, two polytunnels, open vegetable bed and compost area.
We make our own compost from vegetable waste, seaweed, manure from our hens and manure from a local farmer. I call this our gold deposit. The first year I got carried away and grew every vegetable I could think of. Some thrived, some never appeared overground and some threatened to invade West Clare! Since then I have reeled in my ambitions and now grow what works best and what we eat. My husband has become a superb soup maker: courgettes, broccoli, beans, carrots are given exotic partners in the soup saucepan. Our peas never make it to the kitchen, we eat them straight off the plant. Honey, our collie, loves them in the pods.
To encourage bees and pollination I grow flowers both at the doors of the tunnels and inside. I love all the colour, the orange calendula and nasturtiums, and the blue of the cornflowers - all great salad ingredients too!
This year I have ordered a vine to grow in one of the tunnels, a Black Hamburg. Fingers crossed it will settle well and be productive.
My garden is my daily landscape. It feeds me body and soul. There is no greater feeling than producing your own food and enjoying the company of a very friendly robin while you dig and sow."